Since he was 15 years old, John Gutt has worn the Red, White and Blue USPHL logo somewhere on his game jersey. After six years, he will trade the USPHL crest for the logo of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference, the home conference for his future home team, Utica College.
Gutt, who currently plays NCDC hockey for the Utica Jr. Comets, will remain at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica and will suit up for the Utica Pioneers starting next fall, after he committed to Utica College earlier this month.
“I started talking to Utica College when I was [at Hub City Tampa] last season,” said Gutt, a 2001-born native of Middletown, N.J. “They liked how I play a 200-foot game, my poise with the puck, that I have a great head for the game, and I’m a hard worker.”
Gutt is the third-leading scorer all-time for the Jr. Comets’ NCDC franchise, which includes their first two years in the league as the Syracuse Stars. In 66 games, Gutt has posted 69 points, just 13 points outside of the all-time scoring record held by teammate Walter Baumann (82 points).
So, Utica is getting an offensively-gifted player - and Gutt is walking into one of the top NCAA Division III teams over its 21-year history. This is especially true since the 2012-13, when Utica has won six of 10 regular season titles in the former ECAC West and the UCHC. They’ve also made the NCAA Championship Tournament twice in that span of time, making the Division III Frozen Four in 2012-13.
“Utica has a great program. Coach Gary Heenan has taken the program very far, and they have a great culture that I would love to be a part of,” added Gutt. “Education-wise, they have what I’m looking for and a good amount of guys already major in it [Sports Management]. I would like to stay involved in the game to pursue a coaching career.”
That would run in the family, as his father Stan Gutt coached him during his years with the Jersey Shore Whalers (now the Jersey Whalers, under different ownership), from John’s time in the USPHL 15U Division to the USPHL 18U Division, between 2016 and 2019.
In 2019, John moved to the USPHL Premier’s Utica Jr. Comets, playing 39 games and scoring 62 points in that league while getting his first taste of NCDC hockey in a four-game call-up during the 2019-20 season.
All told, Gutt has 197 career USPHL games played, including playoffs. He is on track to play in his 200th USPHL game on Monday, January 10, 2022, during the USPHL Winter Showcase.
“The USPHL is a great league from youth hockey to junior hockey. [For] me personally, I thought I’ve excelled a lot in this league and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” said Gutt. “The Jr. Comets are a very well-run organization and on top of that, we get to play out the Adirondack Bank Center which is probably the best rink to play at.”
Gutt has also formed a strong bond with Head Coach Louis Educate, who was his coach at the Premier level prior to Gutt joining the NCDC.
“Coach Educate has coached me for three years now and I can go on and on about how much he’s helped me through this process,” said Gutt. “He taught me so much my first year of junior hockey, and every year it’s gotten better.”
He still has a few more months in which to get even better ahead of suiting up for the Pioneers. He knows what he has to do to work his way into the lineup as a freshman.
“I would like to put more muscle on and work on a harder shot, especially since playing against bigger boys,” added Gutt.
The USPHL congratulates John Gutt, his family, the Utica Jr. Comets and Utica College for his commitment.